Henry II penny, Rhuddlan mint

This cut halfpenny is a very recent find and came in from Peter Vernon. It had already been identified as being from the Rhuddlan mint in Wales by Peter but he said I could feature it on my website.

Rhuddlan Castle is now a ruin situated about four miles from Rhyl and I visited it about 40 years since. The castle was held by the Earls of Chester but from 1167 it was under the control of the Princes of Gwynedd. It was taken by King John in 1211 but recaptured in 1213 and remained in Welsh hands until it was ceded to Henry III in 1241.

The coins struck at Rhuddlan were made from locally made dies of the voided short cross type. They were divided up into five classes by the late John D. Brand. Peter’s find is an example of Brand class i, which is the earliest for this mint and dates between 1180 and 1190.

On the obverse of this cut halfpenny the king’s crown is made up of nine pellets. What remains of the legend read hENRI, with the letter N reversed.

On the reverse the legend reads LI.ON.R with the N reversed again. LI is the end of the moneyer’s name, which in this case was Halli, and R is the start of the mint signature.

The workmanship displayed on the dies is not up to the high standard seen on the earliest voided short cross coins struck in England. Nevertheless, it is of a reasonable standard and better than some of the crude English pennies of class IV.

Peter asked if I had seen many coins from the Rhuddlan mint. Well, I’ve seen a few in the past but they are certainly very scarce. All the detail shows up well on his cut halfpenny and a Rhuddlan coin as nice as this one would be a really good addition to any collection of detecting finds.

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